Some seriously exciting wines are coming out of Priorat, a region about one and a half hours south of Barcelona. Less well-known than the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions to the west, Priorat, with its harsh, dry climate and slate terraces, is producing some gorgeous wines. And no one is blending old and new vines better than the Vall Llach winery, located in the tiny village of Porrera.
The vineyard’s aptly named “Embruix,” (meaning “bewitching” in Catalan) is an astonishingly good “starter” wine — an affordable, award-winning blend of new vine Cariñena, 23 precent Garnacha , 18 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 17 percent Merlot and 14 percent Syrah.
The 2011 Embruix is similar in style to its predecessors. It’s dark, almost inky in color with an intense hit of jammy fruit and a lush, soft-tannin finish. Connoisseurs may detect mulling spices or a hint of cigar box, but primarily one tastes rich, concentrated fruit, thanks to an especially hot, dry summer and fall. Embruix is a great value wine for the money (around $25), and it is beautifully balanced, a testimony to the winemaker’s artful blending.